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Metta World Peace Won't Contact James Harden To 'Stay Competitive'

Even though Metta World Peace says that his primary concern regarding his recent seven game suspension is about James Harden’s health, the Lakers player isn’t doing anything to check in on him — all in the name of “staying competitive.” In his first public comments since he elbowed the Thunder guard last Sunday night and caused a concussion that has kept him out since, World Peace said he was focused on coming back from suspension and staying focused.

“I see James in the summertime sometimes, playing basketball. Through a third party I got wind that he was OK,” World Peace said at the Lakers’ training facility in his first comments to reporters in three days. “We’re probably going to see each other in the playoffs potentially, so I really didn’t want to do any direct calls. Stay competitive. But through a friend, they said he was doing OK.”

At the very least, he also acknowledged the nature of the hit. “Ooooh, it was a brutal elbow,” he said. “I saw it [on replay] and I was, like, ‘My God,’ immediately.”

“I didn’t lose it. It was bad timing for me. Physically, it was bad timing for Mr. Harden,” he said. "Who could write up a left-handed dunk and then all of a sudden somebody’s right behind you. It’s hard to draw that up and to plan something like that.

“It was just the worst timing for me. The way I’m feeling right now, back to that elite level. It’s funny because a lot of guys that were able to guard me early, they have no chance now. They can’t guard me. It’s just the worst timing for me right now. But I’m happy that James is OK.”

Harden is expected back for the NBA playoffs.

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